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I own a oil and gas business in Texas and had given an employee

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I own a oil and gas business in Texas and had given an employee a $2342.80 quarterly production bonus on the 11/5/10. The Employee then quit on 11/9/10 (no warning). In our employee handbook it states that employees must complete the following 3 months of employment after a bonus is received or we will withhold the amount of the bonus from the last paycheck. The employee has now filed a claim for lost wages. He says he is owed wages for 9 days ($1500) and a ($400) bonus for quality and accuracy of work from previous month that isn't supposed to paid until 11/19/10. Since he quit on the 9th then everything I have read is he is not required to receive the bonus. As far as the wages owed, our company has recooped the loss of the production bonus as stated in the employee handbook by withholding $1500 from the last check. My question is where do I and my company stand in this matter. Thanks.

Thanks so much for choosing this forum to pose your important legal question. I will do my best to give you some honest and accurate guidance as I answer your question.


  1. I am a licensed Texas attorney with labor and employment law litigation experience. I will be glad to try and answer your question. I hope that the following information will be helpful to you, but please just write back if you have any follow-up questions or need clarification after reviewing the following information.
  2. "My question is where do I and my company stand in this matter." Based on your description of the events, unfortunately you have some serious issues pursuant to the Texas Payday Law. Here is what I mean by that statement. Texas law clearly allows for paycheck deductions only under two circumstances: (1) required by statute or order (i.e. garnishments, payroll taxes, etc.); and (2) where the deduction is both lawful and authorized by the employee in writing. Texas Labor Code § 61.018. In other words, I commend you for having the details spelled out in the employee handbook, which is very frequently not the case with employers. However, unless you can provide written evidence that the employee authorized the deduction, I would not expect to see the Texas Workforce Commission allow it. In that event, your recourse would be to file a civil suit against the former employee seeking to recoup the monies. I realize that all of that must seem redundant and unfair, but sorry to say it is how the law operates in this regard.
  3. I hope that makes sense, but please do not hesitate to write back if needed. I shall be signing off soon to attend to some other professional obligations. Please rest assured, however, that I will be sure to check for any updated posts from you when I return to this online forum. I hope this situation gets resolved appropriately.


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The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice. By using this forum, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship has been created between you and Benjamin M. Burt, Jr., Esq. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state.

LawHelpNow and 2 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
What are my chances of winning the production bonus back in a civil suit? Thanks.

Hello again,


Thanks for writing back -- good to hear from you.


I will be glad to comment further -- please see below.


Before I address your inquiry, however, I want to take a moment and say a heartfelt thank for your payment and most of all kind words -- all greatly appreciated!


Now, on to your most recent post. Without being able to make any guarantees, I think your chances are excellent. I would just file a small claims case in Justice Court. With your written handbook and evidence showing his resignation date, if I were a betting man so to speak, my money would be on you. In my estimation, it is just a matter of the mechanics, meaning you may not be able to payroll deduct it, but I absolutely think you would be awarded a full measure of damages in a civil suit.


I hope that helps a bit more. Please feel free to request me again by typing your question in the "Ask Your Question" text box on my Profile Page. In any event, it has truly been a pleasure interacting with you.


Take care and thanks again for choosing JustAnswer®!